Category Archives: Caribbean Plus Lit News

Literary news of interest from the Caribbean and wider world

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late July 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Books

Former Jamaican poet laureate Lorna Goodison’s new book is Mother Muse. Details here. (Source – Repeating Islands – shout out to JRLee email for the link)

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“We all want to keep you safe, especially your father. He was very

lucky: he didn’t get sick. Problem is, if you leave quarantine, he could

catch it from you, and it would make him a lot sicker than it made you.

It’s kinder to children, you see. And when it gets into you, it doesn’t

want to leave. If something else makes you sick, or very tired, the gray

pox will wake up again, and this time it could make your father sick, or

anyone else you might sneeze on.”

from The Plague Doctors by Barbadian speculative fiction author Karen Lord in Take Us to a Better Place – read more about it on my Jhohadli blog

Lord’s story’s inclusion in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021, edited by Veronica Roth, has recently been announced. (Source – Karen Lord’s twitter)

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Praise Song for the Widow by late Barbadian writer Paule Marshall has been re-issued. I actually studied this book in university – and that’s probably the main reason I wanted to share this. But it’s not just about personal preference.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is paule-marshall.jpg

Praise Song is listed among QBR: The Black Review’s 100 essential Black books and is a 1984 American Book Award winner.

The new McSweeny’s hard cover edition, part of its Of the Diaspora series of previously published Black books, came out in April 2021. It includes a new introduction by Jamaica-born writer Opal Palmer Adisa. Praise Song for the Widow was originally published in 1983. (Source – AALBC email)

Accolades

Linda M. Deane claimed Barbados’ Frank Collymore Award, which comes with a $10,000 purse. The prize was for her poetry book An Ocean Away. Sixty manuscripts were in the running for the 23rd annual FCA. (Source – JR Lee email)

You should know that…

While updating the CREATIVE SPACE master list since its migration to the Daily Observer newspaper, I decided to link here two entries of possible interests to artists who venture here.

Beyond Talk?‘, about a Culture, sorry, Creative Industries, initiative to survey the arts in Antigua and Barbuda toward assisting us in accessing opportunities. I know, it sounds familiar, but the whole crux of the article is the reasons we have to be wary and why the person I spoke with believes this time will be different – maybe it’s a fool me once, situation, maybe not; either way I want artists in Antigua and Barbuda to have this information and decide if they trust it and if they wish to act on it.

&

Arts Support: Walk That Talk, about a region-wide arts grant programme in response to the hit taken by everyone, including artists, this past year. Some countries – not Antigua and Barbuda – also had arts grants. Obviously, we’d like to see more but sharing what I’m aware of for now.

Plus this post about Wadadli Pen – ‘Creating Space for Literary Expression‘. (Source – Me)

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Video of the V I Lit Fest can be viewed online. (Source – VI Lit Fest email)

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Dena Simmons, a New Yorker of Antiguan descent has been announced as one of two plenary speakers – the other being Emmy award nominated Scandal and Little Fires Everywhere actress Kerry Washington – at the Grantmakers for Education Annual Conference set for October 2021. The educator and activist “writes and speaks nationally about social justice and culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy as well as creating emotionally intelligent and safe classrooms within the context of equity and liberation.” This will be the 25th anniversary of the Grantmakers for Education Conference. (Source – Linkedin contact)

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The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books is now available online. Current and back issues have been uploaded to the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association website – also new. ABSA is responsible for the annual Antigua Conference, held since 2005.

Dr. Paget Henry, pictured here at a past conference at the Enlightenment Academy, is one of the chief members of the ABSA, editor of the A & B Review, and convener of the annual conference.

The site also currently has information on the next conference including the call for papers. Check it out. (Source – office of Paget Henry via email)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Caribbean Literature Day

July 12th 2021 has, as of last year, been dubbed Caribbean Literature Day. Shout out to St. Martin’s House of Nehesi Publishers for coining it in 2020.

Days like this are an opportunity to draw your attention to the literature that gets crowded out by more mainstream titles – and, unfortunately, even in the Caribbean, books from up North still define mainstream. But between #readCaribbean and #Caribathon during Caribbean American Heritage Month (i.e. June, which was also Pride Month and Black Music Month; World Environment Day, June 5th, was also in there making for the most intersection of observances all around) and now Caribbean Literature Day, we’re pushing back, baby.

I thought I would focus here on Wadadli Pen on the often overlooked solo pieces published in journals and anthologies – the readership is small which is unfortunate because some of them are quite good. If I had my way, I would popularize them with dramatized readings for radio. I’ve actually suggested that to local radio but been ignored. Maybe it’s a question of money; the rights of the pieces would have to be secured, voice actors would have to be paid etc. But it would be dope, the appetite for story is not the problem but access either due to money, availability, or even someone not realizing that they might be interested because, I hate to tell you, but if you like movies or mêlée, you like story.

One of the things I’ve tried to do here on the Wadadli Pen blog is share pieces I find in the Reading Room and Gallery series which is 41 deep at this point, a curated salon that you can chill in and come back to at your discretion – how cool would it be if we had the resources to turn it in to a real virtual salon for an immersive reading/listening experience. The arts need money, I tell you.

The other way I try to amplify these literary bites is by sharing every published or performed poem or short story or intertextual piece I can find in one of our many data bases – with the only proviso being it be a real credit (i.e. published in a journal, performed at an official lit event, that sort of thing). For many writers these are the foot in the door that, if the foot is not squeezed out and the door slammed, can lead to a writing career. It was for me.

Let me tell you about BIM.

BIM: Arts for the 21st Century edited by Barbados Poet Laureate Esther Phillips is perhaps the oldest surviving literary journal in the region that is still publishing and relevant today – and even BIM has an uneven publishing life.

Image, dated 2014, borrowed from the facebook page of the Nature Island Literary Festival.

BIM was started in 1942, edited first by E. L. Cozier, then by Frank Collymore, who shepherded many of the pioneers of the Caribbean literary canon in to the published world until he gave up the role in 1974. Per the about page of the BIM website, publication became irregular after that, and in 1996 went in to a long hiatus that didn’t end until the relaunch in 2007.

This is around the time that I became aware of BIM and I was a hungry young writer who wanted in. When I learned of the BIM event celebrating Caribbean women writers, I wrote to Phillips introducing myself and my at the time two published books – The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and she didn’t ignore me, as happens. In fact, before I knew what had happened (forgive me if I’m sketchy on the details, it’s been a while), I was on a panel with the likes of Ramabai Espinet, the Indo-Trinidadian Canada-based author of The Swinging Bridge; Curdella Forbes, the US based Jamaican author whose latest book A Tall History of Sugar won the Hurston Wright Fiction prize; Trinidadian poet and artist, Bocas prize winner for Doe Songs, Danielle Boodoo Fortune; Bermudan writer Angela Barry, author of Goree: Point of Departure; and Barbadian poet Dana Gilkes.

This isn’t a books post but see in bold several books you could be checking out (of your library or book store, online or brick and mortar) this Caribbean Literature Day.

Anyway, the imposter syndrome was real but I was also excited to be at this event where reconnections were forged, new friendships made, I soaked up knowledge, and moved the needle a little as a #gyalfromOttosAntigua inching in to the Caribbean literary canon, or trying to.

Publishing in BIM became a goal and, no matter the stage of your career, there is nothing so humbling as submitting to and being rejected time and again by journal editors. They are often brisk and to the point, if they take the time to give you specific feedback. And getting specific feedback – hurt though it might – is actually a good thing; it means that they see you, they just don’t want you quite yet. So you get back to work.

The piece that ended up landing me on the pages of BIM was initially workshopped over at the Caribbean Literary Salon (RIP to that valuable space). It’s a story about a big head boy, teased for that big head and other things, published as What’s in a Name in BIM: Arts for the 21st Century Volume 7 in 2015. See the time gap? Getting in was a hallelujah moment.

I have a bad habit that – with the possible exception of The Caribbean Writer – once I’ve published in a coveted publication I move on to climb the next mountain. New goals. So publishing in BIM again wasn’t something I really-really went after again. Maybe I didn’t want to kill my high at being published by giving them the chance to reject me again. Which is not to say that I never submitted again because I did for the current publication (and I do think the year we’ve had has something to do with me going for it) and one of my submitted pieces was accepted.

I’m always a little jazzed when a poem is accepted because I don’t consider myself a poet though I have published so many poems in journals at this point that that’s a lie. Maybe something to do with one of my more scalding rejections, from a revered Caribbean editor and mentor being “your poetry is not up to the standard of your fiction”. Rejections don’t stop me even when they scald, I keep working, keep submitting, and it’s …nice…when something gets through. I tell that story still not because it’s baggage but because I hope it will inspire some other writer, whether rejected by Wadadli Pen or your dream publication; don’t give up. Maybe your writing could be better, you’ve always got to entertain that possibility, or maybe it’s just not it’s time. Either way, keep writing and keep trying.

And read, read a lot.

I’m still reading the current issue of BIM: Arts for the 21st Century and you should to. You should also check out the journaled writings by Antiguans and Barbudans I’ve compiled here on the blog, so many that they are divided alphabetically A to M, N to Z.

Happy Caribbean Literature Day.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business

When You’re a Caribbean Gyal in a Big Book World

This is an article I started shopping a little too late, a little over a month ago (hoping it would find fertile ground with June being Caribbean American Heritage Month). Give thanks for blogging. Sharing here with minor edits to the original draft. Share your thoughts.

If you were on #bookstagram or book twitter during the month of June, Caribbean American Heritage Month in the US, you might have happened upon a little hashtag catching fire, #readCaribbean. It’s the brainchild of Cindy, BookofCinz on instagram, Caribbean Girl Reading the World on twitter; also in June, June 9th to 18th in 2020, on booktube and bookstagram, is the Caribathon, run by Jamaica-born ComfyCozyUp and RunWright Reads.

Why all this Caribbean book love, you may ask.

“I love sharing my culture as well as other cultures in the Caribbean,” ComfyCozyUp said in the 2021 Caribathon announcement on YouTube.

Cindy has given her purpose as creating awareness about Caribbean literature, Caribbean authors, Caribbean heritage, and showcasing the Caribbean voice while maintaining how unique each island is. Of course, the challenge is to find Caribbean books, read them, chat about them, hashtag them, but Cindy also directs the reading with challenges within the challenge to #readCaribbean that include instructions to read Caribbean poetry, queer lit, folklore, women, indies, and various islands (my response to Cindy’s challenge here).

I wanted to write, as a Caribbean reader and writer, why these initiatives not only matter but why they excite me so much.

It is primarily because I am a Caribbean reader and writer from a 108 square mile island, a dot on the map, we may joke, even while our national ethos is “we bigger dan dem” because, while not small in our own minds, we are keenly aware of our place in the global scheme of things.

It is primarily because I am a Caribbean reader and writer from a 108 square mile island which bigger-better-known Caribbean islands may unironically call “small island”. Our most famous writer (daughter of Ovals and one of my favourites) is named for one of those bigger islands Jamaica and wrote a really thought provoking book about home called A Small Place.

It is primarily because I am a Caribbean reader and writer from a 108 square mile island who five times out of 10 when I’m outside the region and say I’m from Antigua gets, in response, “Jamaica?”, “Montego Bay?”, or depending on how far I’ve travelled, a blank stare, that has me fishing around for some connective thread between their world and mine. Viv Richards usually works because most of the world, or at least the former British empire, which is to say Britain and her stolen common wealth (on which the sun never set), plays cricket and Sir Isaac Alexander Vivian Richards is the winningest captain of the West Indies Cricket Team and was named one of Wisden’s top 5 cricketers of the 20th century. He is from Ovals, Antigua.

It is primarily because I am a Caribbean reader and writer from a 108 square mile island I described, in my well-travelled piece on Writing off the Map, as being “far from the world where books are made and dreaming impossible dreams is encouraged” in describing my journey to becoming a published writer in a world where, with some very few exceptions, Caribbean writers don’t even have prominence in Caribbean bookstores, nor gallingly those bookstores in Caribbean airports.

I am a self-described #gyalfromOttosAntigua. Growing up in Antigua and Barbuda, which became politically independent from Britain in 1981 when I would have been eight years old, two years or so before cable TV saw us swarmed with content out of America, another type of colonization, most of the entertainment we all consumed, with the exception of two weeks of Carnival in the summer, was from, as we say, “overseas”. How pervasive was this? Well, I just wrote that Carnival was in the summer and I live in “the tropics” where it’s summer all year round. How many books, TV shows, movies, songs, advertisements do you think it took for a little girl from an island in the Caribbean to internalize the idea of seasons. I mean, we had seasons in the Caribbean – Carnival season, mango season, hurricane season etc., but the spring, summer, fall/autumn, winter thing is wholly imported. So, more recently, are concepts like Halloween and Black Friday which have become quite popular here as well, even as people of my generation bemoan that they’ve usurped Guy Fawkes, which I remember fondly because we lit starlights and fireworks, what we called “bombs”. Guy Fawkes was, of course, another imported observance, this one of a failed gunpowder plot in Britain back in the 1600s. As a child, I knew as much about that as about why we sang London Bridge or Ring-a-round a Rosey in schoolyard playgrounds.

We, in the Caribbean, like to think of ourselves as a pepperpot, creole, a mix up mix up of influences though primarily of African origin. African origin, British and more recently American cultural and institutional dominance (I would say American cultural dominance, especially in the age of streaming and social media, and British institutional dominance certainly in the structure and mindset of our public sector), and a mélange of other people and influences. My mother is from the English speaking French and English Creole island of Dominica and a lot of the Caribbean – Dominica, Jamaica, Indo-Guyana – meet in Antigua, where a sizable percentage of our population is from the Dominican Republic, and also Europe, the Middle East, and increasingly China. Variations of the same all across the Caribbean, the mixes and seasonings varying based on political and economic influence and the movement of people.

What does all of this have to do with the #Caribathon and #readCaribbean? Well, to a greater degree than we like to admit much of what we consumed – so many of the books we consumed in school and for leisure – were not written by Caribbean authors. We were an Enid Blyton, Archie comic, Judy Bloom, Trixie Belden, Mills and Boon, Wakefield Twins reading people, and the discovery of our own voices, and we are still discovering them, speaking for myself, had to be a deliberate act because the other stuff was so comparatively easily accessible. My dad used to bring home books and magazines left behind by tourists (which by default meant white people) at the resort – most Antiguans and Barbudans worked in resort tourism after the death of the sugar trade, before my time. The West Indian/Caribbean canon did exist but the image of those books in a glass cabinet locked with a key at the library, at the time a room above a storefront on the main road through St. John’s City, because, yes, even islands have distinctions between city/town and country, crosses my mind as an apt metaphor for our relationship to those books. You had to work to get to them, unlock something. For many in the Caribbean, the introduction to Caribbean literature was a school thing – the story of Millicent by Merle Hodge, later Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipauls’ A House for Mr. Biswas for which I wasn’t ready (a struggle). Shakespeare, too, but I had the opportunity to re-meet the Bard under more receptive circumstances in my college years. And then, of course, he was all across popular culture – Hollywood loves a Shakespeare adaptation almost as much as a Jane Austen, whom I also studied in college. So I was primed. For many a Caribbean child, though, I’d venture, our school-based introduction to Caribbean texts as texts, defined a relationship akin to healthy eating with these books.

Two of my books, The Boy from Willow Bend and Musical Youth have been and are on schools reading lists in the Caribbean. Of course, like any author, I hope the students who are introduced to them embrace them, and not just endure them.



The beauty of initiatives like #readCaribbean and Caribathon is the opportunity to discover the joy in the Caribbean canon, the reading of Caribbean books widely and plentifully, as Antiguan-Barbudan calypsonian Singing Althea once sang, just for fun. Because Caribbean reading is not just healthy eating, though it can be. It is bananas – tasty and rich, mangoes – too rich but so good, soursop – good and thick, gynep – it has layers, man; it is all the things you can eat – the things that give you running belly to the things that make you hopped up on endorphins. It is a varied and tasty buffet of bookish goodness, and as with a buffet, you’re sure to find something to sate your literary palette.

Little known fact, from erotica to romance to historical dramas to scholarly tomes, the Caribbean’s got you covered; and the discovery of that canon is the point of these hashtags.


That both initiatives got going in 2020. Actually #readCaribbean was coined in 2019, but 2020 was a year in which the Black Lives Matter social movements, among other shifts in thought and action, propelled people to consume content formerly at the margins, the Black story. Sure, they ran full pelt toward The Help, initially, but hopefully social media driven nudges toward #ownvoices content that include #readCaribbean and Caribathon, because our stories too are part of this conversation, will open up the reading experience of eyes that usually default to more mainstream material. All these euphemisms. White people, the white experience, the white gaze, western stories (not the old west, the western hemisphere); that’s the default, and as I’ve shown, not just in America, but in America, yes.

When I posted about #readCaribbean on my blog at the start of June 2021, a couple of positively encouraging responses (from white women, judging by their avatars though I can’t say which country) suggested that while they hadn’t thought (or thought much) about it before they were now. “I’ve read a couple of these authors, but that’s it. I really need to branch out in my reading, so thanks for the recs.” – one wrote. Another – “I didn’t know June was #ReadCaribbeanMonth! I’m bookmarking this post to see which of these books I can find at my local library.” The most interesting comment for me though was the one who said that while they’d read and found interesting two of the books I’d listed, two modern Caribbean classics by the way, they were hard to follow because of “all the stuff with the mongoose … and all the dreamy, surreal sequences.” I appreciated the candor. But I have to admit I ruminated over this comment quite a bit before responding, wondering if it was just a matter of taste or limited exposure, because surrealism, symbolism, and magical realism is such a normal part of Caribbean literature beginning with the Anansi tales and Jumbie stories so many children of my generation, children of the 70s and 80s, grew up on that not only weren’t these wrinkles in my reading of the named books, they were part of the beauty and poetry of them. I said as much. But this continued to turn over in my mind. (Allowing for personal preference, of course) Was it possible to be so used to story told a particular type of way that other ways felt off? Well, of course, that is part of the problem with a reading diet – not speaking to this individual commenter, who as a book blogger I suspect reads more widely than most, but to reading habits generally – largely limited to a single food group. It’s bland and a little pepper makes it taste over-seasoned; when that’s just flavour, baby.

Last year, in an online book group, I saw enthusiastic readers posting stacks of books as part of their mission to read Black for Black History Month. The stacks included The Help, again, and To Kill a Mockingbird which, while a personal favourite from secondary school, are not #ownvoices Black books – a la Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage, an Oprah’s Book Club pick which also deals with wrongful prosecution of a Black man (read my review).

It reminded me of how important it is to be as conscious in pushing books, as Oprah has to a degree (boosting authors like Toni Morrison and Edwidge Dandicat) written by Black and Caribbean writers, as I and others have had to be about deliberately seeking out and reading Black and Caribbean books. Even and ironically especially when we come from a predominantly Black country. Because, per the fine print, we are also former colonies of European countries and endured hundreds of years of being trafficked into the dehumanization of chattel slavery and post-slavery inequities that the labour movement of the 1930s, through the Independence and pan-African movements of the 1960s through 1980s, even to the reparations movement that gathered focus 20 or so years ago are still in the process of dismantling. We’re working through some ish. The #readCaribbean and Caribathon initiatives are as necessary for us, discovering and rediscovering and affirming ourselves, as for those who have been denied variety by a publishing and book industry that too often plays it safe by not publishing diversely nor properly promoting the diverse books that are published.


So, that’s why I was excited as a reader and as a writer, but most especially as a Caribbean person about initiatives like #readCaribbean and Caribathon.

Post-script: And this was my first #booktube reading wrap up (which is not exclusively #Caribathon and #readCaribbean related but does reference it).

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Reading Room and Gallery 41

Things I read that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“Baobab trees are hollow which is why you cannot measure their rings to access their age. You must look at their breadth and at 20 feet this one is estimated to be 300 years old. I film at a distance, then close up, and then walk around it and then from in it. In it, there is an opening to see the hollow. big enough to go inside but I would never dare enter. It feel empty. I left there feeling a tightness around my throat which my friend told me is what happens when spirits attach themselves to you. Later that night he sent me a song by Miles Davis to listen to and I cried. I felt so much grief and it didn’t feel wholly mine.” – La Vaughn Pelle, USVI, blog 1, Catapult Stay at Home Residency

POETRY

“The stories my mother told were always too frightening for us…” – Legends by Edwidge Dandicat

REPORTS

“Contemporary artist Sheena Rose was born in 1985 in Bridgetown, Barbados, where she also currently lives and works. A Fulbright Scholar who holds a BFA from Barbados Community College and MFA from the University of North Carolina, Rose’s work is equally rooted in her Caribbean heritage as it is in her efforts to challenge any preconceived notions and definitions of said heritage.” – Sheena Rose: Dramatically Removing the Landscape by Heike Dempster in Whitewall

STORIES

“It was quiet like Sunday afternoon, that storm.” – ‘Rain’ by Maria Govan, the Bahamas (Catapult Stay at Home Residency recipient)

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“On the day my dead brother came home I awoke to the smell of salty broth, mushrooms swelled with water and heat, the tang of sugared limes. My mother entered my bedroom, pulled me from sleep with cool fingers. He’s home, she said. Who? Your brother. When she said his name, I pushed away the thought of the boy I had once known, glasses round and thick, framing eyes whose lashes I never stopped envying, a checkered shirt or perhaps his Manchester United polo, a missing canine that had never grown in. Instead, I rolled over and said, My brother is dead. Let me sleep. Patiently, my mother peeled back the covers, waited for the February air to work its way under my pajama shirt. He’s in the living room, she said. He needs a change of clothes. Give him something of yours.” – Fish Stories by Janika Oza, 2020 Kenyon Review Short Contest Winner

CONVERSATIONS

“Each of the characters’ stories were written on their own, before I spliced them together and rewrote the whole story.” – Ingrid Persaud and Jacob Ross in conversation

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“Democracy is both fragile and also enduring.”

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“When I was finding my voice as a writer, Alice Walker meant so much to me because I learned courage from her. She was a feminist when Black women wanted to kill her because she was a feminist. She was writing about spousal abuse when we had no word for that. She was called a man hater. When the book Colour Purple came out, she wrote about how she almost had a nervous breakdown, the hate was so extreme. Then she had the nerve to write about female genital mutilation. So, she really means a lot to me because of her courage. She just wouldn’t stop.” – Marita Golden

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“It’s been really amazing, for example this year, especially during the summer, during the protest, to see people reconsider Haiti’s role in fighting white supremacy at its very beginning, the revolution and all those issues coming up in terms of what’s happening in the contemporary…Haiti suffered punishments for this revolution.”

V is for Voices in conversation, in 2020, with Haitian writer Edwidge Dandicat on Instagram.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid July 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Remembering

Bunny Wailer (1947-2021) died earlier this year and though I am late in marking this seismic moment in music, I couldn’t let the transitioning of the last of the iconic Wailers, which included legends Bob Marley (1945-1981) and Peter Tosh (1944-1987), go by just so. (Source – JR Lee email)

News

Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters out of the Virgin Islands have teamed up with Syllble Inc out of the US (its founder is out of Haiti) to stimulate the writing and boosting of Caribbean speculative fiction. “The story bible founders will design an overview of the fictional universe. As short stories get written the story bible is expected to grow. The best short stories will be short listed for Moko’s consideration.” Read more in this press release. (Source – Syllble email)

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Plans advance for an African Slavery Museum in Antigua and Barbuda.

It is to be constructed at Tomlinson’s Estate and is spearheaded by the African Slavery Memorial Society founded by Edith Oladele to preserve African heritage and memory in Antigua and Barbuda. Details of the planned museum can be read here:

(Source – ASMS email)

Events

The publishers of The Caribbean Writer Vol. 35 have announced an after reading dinner affair reader response discussion series for July 15th 2021, 6 to 8 p.m. They will be discussing the poems in tribute to the late Kamau Brathwaite published in volume 35. RSVP here and order volume 35 here. (Source – TCW email)

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I’ll be reading at the Medellin World Poetry Festival in August. Read about my recent test and watch a preview in my latest reading journal. (Source – Jhohadli)

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July 12th 2021 is Caribbean Literature Day. This started last year (I believe) and I’m not sure what activities are planned (will update as able) but let us know how you’ll be celebrating. (Source – N/A email)

Accolades

It’s become hard to keep up with the awards and award nominations scooped up by Antiguan and Barbudan Shabier Kirchner for his cinematography on Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ – hereafter known as one of the most egregiously snubbed anthology series of the 2021 Emmys season. Kirchner who previously picked up nominations and/or awards for Small Axe from the New York Film Critics Circle (win), the National Society of Film Critics Awards, the Lost Angeles Film Critics Awards, (win), International Online Cinema Awards, International Cinephile Society Awards, Florida Film Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, British Society of Cinematographers, Boston Society of Film Critics, among others, added to his haul with a trophy from the BAFTA TV Craft awards for Photography and Lighting: Fiction. He was also a 2021 Independent Spirit Award nominee for best cinematography for ‘Bull’. Talk about a year and a career on the rise. (Source – various)

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Late on this one but St. Lucia’s Canisia Lubrin (Poetry) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dionne Brand (fiction), both Canada-based were announced among the eight recipients of the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the richest international literary prizes with its US$165,000 purse to each writer. The money is strings-free, allowing them to focus on their work without the pressure of financial commitments. (Source – JR Lee email)

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The winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize has been announced. It is Sri Lankan author Kanya D’Almeida. Her story ‘I cleaned the – ‘ can be read here. The regional winner for the Caribbean is Jamaican writer Roland Watson-Grant. You can read his story, ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell’, here. (Source – Commonwealth Writers email)

Roland

Opportunities

Also see Opportunities Too for pending deadlines.

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The UNESCO-sponsored cultural/creative industries mapping project is requesting the participation of artists in Antigua and Barbuda in its data collection phase before October 31st 2021.

Cultural advisor with the Creative Industries Minister Dr. Hazra Medica advises us that data gathered during this phase and the resultant reports will serve as “the most important advocacy tool in our lobby arsenal–both inside and outside of Antigua and Barbuda– for our cultural/creative industries.” They have framed it as a help us help you scenario for local artists and cultural practitioners, and while we have been asked to register before, Dr. Medica insists that this time is different. The goal, she indicated, is to move beyond talk. I have talked more with Medica on this and hope to say more about it in a future edition of my CREATIVE SPACE column (subscribe to Jhohadli) to make sure you don’t miss it. Meanwhile, here’s where you can complete the data collection form. (Source – Dr. Medica email)

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The Bocas Lit Fest has adjusted the criteria for its first ever children’s book prize which is open for entries to July 30th 2021. The word count is now 1,500 words (down from 6,000) and the books no longer need to be structured as chapter books to be eligible. The books must still be appropriate for children 7 to 12 years old, and must have been published between January 1st 2020 and July 31st 2021. Self-published books are eligible and the author and/or publisher do not need to be Caribbean based. Details on the Bocas site & below:

(Source – Bocas email)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late June 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Arts News

This is an interesting one. African American actor (a personal fave) Michael B. Jordan has trademarked J’ouvert for use as the name of his new announced rum. It has raised issues of cultural appropriation, which is fair (if complicated), but the part that made this interesting to me and relevant to this site was the trademark issue (a google search of j’ouvert also turns up this other trademark claim …?). I read (e.g. in this Trinidad Express article) that ‘the trademark filing …claimed “J’Ouvert” has “no meaning in any language”.’ Not true. Not for any Carnival loving Caribbean person. Literally Day Open, it is historically the start of our mas and for us in Antigua is the start of Carnival Monday, Emancipation Day. I want to make clear that though Trinidad-American rapper Nicki Minaj was the one to raise this on social media, J’ouvert also does not belong to Trinidad – I speak this as the daughter of a patois speaking J’ouvert loving mother from the French Creole island-country Dominica whose earliest memories include being hugged against my mother and sister jamming during J’ouvert in Antigua whose Carnival, Calypso, J’ouvert, Mas, Music, and Pageantry is Carnival to me. This is a Caribbean t’ing not a Trini t’ing. To me. It has meaning to us, collectively. Per the Dothraki, it is known. This move though raises questions of legal ownership, trademark of so many cultural attributes – one of the things not documented in my recent CREATIVE SPACE (CREATIVE SPACE #13 Eat n Lime), for instance, from a conversation with the owner of the oldest family owned business, a rum distributor, on the island about the reason we can’t export Cavalier – our island rum – being a (failure to) trademark issue. There’ve been discussions around steelpan, as it’s become more and more international, and other things over the years. A product is one thing though but what of something that is part of the collective culture, like j’ouvert, who owns that? can anyone? I think we would agree that whoever it is, it probably shouldn’t be an African American actor? BUT What if a percentage of profits was put in to a fund for the preservation and development of Caribbean culture and art – since we know that is lacking in the region? Is that a discussion to be had? Re use of a word we claim but have no legal standing to so do, I’d be interested in an opinion from a Caribbean luminary on this. Just in general. I mean, Antigua is the name of my island. It means old in Spanish. It’s also been used as a fashion brand which, as far as I know, we don’t profit from. Where is the line? So that’s why I’m sharing this. To fuel that conversation around ownership of the things we consider our own. (Source – Caribbean Entertainment Magazine which is making a comeback after a three year hiatus – Read more)

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Canadian artist of Antiguan descent Motion (Wendy Brathwaite) has announced the release of her feature film (she co-wrote it with director Charles Officer) Akillah’s Escape, which earlier premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. (Source – Email)

Remember you can check Antiguan and Barbudan Plays/Screenplays and Playwrights and Screenwriters (the Antigua-Barbuda connection) for more film writing credits.

Events

A reminder that July 12th 2021 is Caribbean Literature Day. Will share details of activities as they become available and as time allows. But keep an eye out. (Source – email)

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Wadadli Pen team member, local author and publisher Barbara Arrindell presented on the regional publishing industry at a World Intellectual Property Organization webinar. She crowdsourced responses from writers who talked about difficulties balancing the creative with the business of writing, the challenges with distribution, the strong emphasis on self-publishing and the greater ease of self-publishing in lieu of grappling with the gatekeepers in international publishing, the barriers to regional creative industries in terms of capitalization and taxation, “real money has to be put in in terms of grants, awards, …and angel (investors)” one of her respondents said, heralding initiatives like the Burt Award, the need for government investment, support, and promotion of local books, and Ministry of Education buy-in, were highlighted, as was the printing and publishing infrastructure, literature councils to gather and tell our stories was recommended. Could go on and on the full has never been told. The Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property has shared a link where the entire webinar can be viewed with the passcode Passcode: J.Smu26a (Source – ABIPO facebook page)

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Post note: Olive Senior couldn’t make it. Ivory and I read our stories in full and fielded a number of thought provoking questions. Fruitful discussion. Good lime.

***

The Commonwealth Short Story prize winner will be announced on June 30th 2021. Virtual attendees will hear readings from winning regional stories during the event being held in partnership with the London Library. Regional winner for the Caribbean is Roland Watson-Grant of Jamaica. Kei Miller, also of Jamaica, is one of several announced guest readers. Registration information here. One snag – it’s announced for 1 p.m. India Standard Time which is foreday morning in our Atlantic Standard Time time zone. (Source – CW email)

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Antiguan and Barbudan artist Heather Doram has a live coming up on Untapped Potential with Dr. Simone Mathieu. June 19th, 5 p.m. Watch on facebook at @Pushpast10 and live on TDNtv.net See also http://www.pushpast10.com (Source – instagram)

Opportunities

Upcoming Bocas workshops include my own Writing for Children rescheduled to October 2021. Full line up here.

(Source – Bocas)

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Webinar Opportunity! Are you an inspiring author or simply interested in publishing a book? If so, this webinar will be of much use to you! The World Intellectual Property Organization in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office will be hosting a webinar for authors and publishers.
Join our regional and international experts on June 21, 2021, at 10 am – 12 pm, as they walk us through the ins– and- outs of publishing a book! This session will cover the foundational strategies that govern:

• State of the industry in the Caribbean region (Speaker Ms. Barbara Arrindell, Writer and Manager, Best of Books)
• ISBN identifier (Speaker Ms. Ms. Stella Griffiths, Executive Director of the International ISBN Agency)

• The landscape and opportunities for publishing. Why do you need a publisher? (Speaker Mr. José Borghino, Secretary General of IPA)
• The author –publisher relation (Speaker Mr. Luke Alcott, International Author’s Forum)

Join the Zoom at: https://wipo-int.zoom.us/j/65607210845

(Source – National Public Library via Facebook)

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A recent addition to our Opportunities Too page is the Bocas Lit Fest Children’s Book Prize. Chapter books by Caribbean writers for readers 7 – 12, roughly 6000 words, are eligible. Details here and here:

(Source – social media and direct mail)

Remember to check for more pending opportunities here.

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Third Horizon Film Festival has posted its schedule which runs from June 24th – July 1st 2021, and includes virtual screenings, preceded by three evenings, June 21st – 23rd 2021, of free keynote and masterclass conversations. RSVP here for discussions on the Caribbean cinematic aesthetic, film financing, and distribution.

Book News

I met Audrey Edwards at the Anguilla Lit Fest in 2015. She moved to France after the 2016 US election and actually the day before the inauguration of he who shall never be named on this site in 2017. Here she discusses her book American Runaway: Black and Free in Paris in the …Years. Her father is from St. Croix and he is described as coming from “a line of proud West Indian men who tolerated no bad behavior from Blacks or whites…”

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Joy James, whom you may remember as the owner of the Art at the Ridge gallery and a patron of Wadadli Pen, has announced the release of 101 Black Inventors and Their Inventions, a crowdfunded self-publication. The book is targeted at late primary and early secondary school ages. The author, Joy, recently started writing non-fiction children’s books to help educate and inform curious, young minds. She and her husband, whose family originates from Antigua & Barbuda, raised their own children on our twin island nation. “This book was an idea long before I started writing it,” Joy said in an exclusive to Wadadli Pen. “When my children were younger, I wanted a book about Black role models to help inspire them and expand their minds. I knew this information was out there somewhere, but I couldn’t find anything in an organised format or in the form of a children’s book. I hope that everyone young and old will enjoy reading about the many Black inventors in our world and their wonderful contributions that help to improve our lives. I hope that they will be heartened by this. Our world has certainly benefitted from these amazing inventions!”

From Gerald Lawson’s home video game console that led to the Xbox and PlayStation to Annie Malone’s haircare products which led her to become a millionaire, the book narrates how “these real-life superheroes” overcame adversity, including discrimination, in achieving their goals.

The book is now available online. Joy has a book on the same theme, this one for ages five and younger, scheduled for an October 2021 release. Congrats, Joy. (Source – Joy James via facebook and direct mail)

Programmes and Projects

Look up. There’s a new R & D page hereon the Wadadli Pen blog. The R is for resources and the D is for Databases. All gathered in one place.

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A local, UNESCO-funded “culture mapping project … will see information gathered to assess the sector’s economic impact in Antigua and Barbuda. The aim is to highlight the contribution creative industries make to national development, identify ways to increase participation in them, and lobby for more funding, among other things.” Details here. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Prize Winners

The National Cultural Foundation, Barbados, offers hearty congratulations to writer Linda M. Deane who won the $10,000 top prize at the 23rd Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Competition on Sunday, February 14.
Her collection of poems, An Ocean Away; My Mother Smiling: Tales of Migration and Memory, was selected the best over 60 other entries. Linda is a British-Barbadian writer, editor, publisher and graphic designer. She is also a NIFCA Governor-General Awardee, having won the award in 2017. She is also co-editor of the on-line journal ArtsEtc. (Source – JR Lee email)

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Antigua-Barbuda-born Dionisia Diaz, 20, has won Digicel’s Regional BIP Mascot 3D Design Challenge and US$10,000. The Challenge was to create a 3D mascot for the BIP messaging app. Entries came from 10 countries and Diaz won with a robot-themed design.

(Source – the Daily Observer newspaper)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid June 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here)

Wadadli Pen News

Wadadli Pen has donated 4 copies each of the Collins Big Cat #ownvoices Caribbean titles to the Public Library. Donations were also made to the Cushion Club, and the Wadadli Pen Challenge winning author has received copies to contribute to a school of his choice.

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The Wadadli Pen Awards were held on May 30th 2021. For the second year, it was virtual due to COVID-19 safety concerns. But you can see clips from the awards on this Playlist on the Wadadli Pen YouTube Channel, you can read all the winning stories from this and past years, You can read who won what?, and You can see our photo gallery of people collecting their prizes, as well as our video gallery.

Second placed writer Ashley-Whitney Joshua collecting her prizes at the Best of Books bookstore.

Congrats to our first ever father-daughter winners and all finalists; thanks to our patrons.

(Source for all Wadadli Pen news – in-house)

Other Awards News

Barbudan Go had an animation competition to raise awareness about fisheries regulations. Entrants were required to create an animation for their favourite existing ad, and post with #booyardfisheries. The announced winners are Eshe Mussington for a parrotfish closed season animation and Dell Dell for a special area fishing permit animation. The prize is $1000. Barbudan Go is a registered community non-profit. (Source – facebook) Per the Daily Observer, Barbudan Go also organized an exhibition at Barbuda’s fisheries complex for World Oceans Day, featuring students from the McChesney George Secondary School.

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(Source – Prince Claus Fund website)

See Opportunities for more on the Prince Claus Fund.

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At Night All Blood is Black has been adjudged winner of the International Booker Prize, given for the best work in translation. Written by David Diop and translated by Anna Moschovakis. It is “a short novel about a Senegalese soldier’s descent into madness while fighting for France in World War I”. Writer and translator will share the 50,000 pounds prize. Chair of judges Lucy Hughes-Hallett said during the virtual ceremony, “The whole of tragedy depends on the dichotomy between the awfulness of what you’re being told, and the beauty of the way it’s being expressed…You feel like you’re being hypnotized. It’s an extraordinary novel.” (Source – BookTuber Eric Karl Anderson and details from The New York Times)

Book + Art Events

Okay, the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival is a ways off but this promo poster debuted recently and I thought I’d share it (in great part because the art is by Trinbagonian Danielle Boodoo-Fortune, whom you may remember is the illustrator of my books Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and The Jungle Outside, with whom I participated in a Live chat on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel about those projects and the creative process on World Book and Copyright Day). (Source – Don’t remember)

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CARICON is described as a celebration of Caribbean Literature; it runs online from June 4th to 6th. The event is a diaspora-focused Caribbean American Heritage Month in Southern California. The line-up of participants includes, on June 4th, St. Kitts-Nevis Dr. Robertine Chaderton (One Caribbean Story event), Jamaica’s Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks (So You want to be a Storyteller! interactive workshop), Montserrat’s Myrle Roach (The Poetry Hour); on June 5th, Dr. Donna Aza Weir-Soley (a conversation on New Horizons among the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars) and Dr. Opal Palmer Adisa (a panel on Rebirth: a Journey of Political and Social Change, Renewal, Revival, and Cultural Identity) – both of Jamaica; and on June 6th, Jamaica’s Diana McCaulay (in a discourse on Confronting Climate Change in the Caribbean – Inside a Dry-weather House) and Guyana’s Fred D’Aguiar (a workshop on How to write a Winning Beginning). For more and to register for CARICON visit here. (Source – online somewhere)

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The Barbados Art Collective is holding a fundraiser for St. Vincent and the Grenadines which has been disrupted thanks to volcanic activity. A number of artists have contributed pieces to an art auction running from June 4th – 5th. Cherise Harris who illustrated With Grace (my book) is contributing a development sketch (i.e. one of those pieces that didn’t make it in to the book). The exhibition is being held at the Art Splash Gallery in Barbados. (Source – Cherise Harris’ facebook)

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Antiguan-Barbudan New York resident Carol Tonge Mack had a book signing event at the Best of Books bookstore for her memoir Being Bernadette: from Polite Science to Finding the Black Girl Magic Within. (Source – Best of Book’s facebook page)

See also the database of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing and Antiguan and Barbudan Non-Fiction.

ICYMI

Celebrating one of the great ones George Lamming who celebrated a birthday, his 94th, in early June. The Barbadian is one of the lions of the Caribbean literary canon.

“The depths of Lamming’s understanding of social, political and historical issues were soon revealed in his first four novels: In the Castle of My Skin, (1953), The Emigrants, (1954) Of Age and Innocence (1958) and Season of Adventure, (1960).” – read more at Barbados Today (Source – Facebook)

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Here’s what you missed so far this year if you missed CREATIVE SPACE: Articles on arts support, fashion, books, gardening, cinematography, artisans and artrepreneurship, visual arts on canvas and in illustration form. (Source – Me)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and Spanish language edition Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, The Jungle Outside, With Grace, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved.

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Wadadli Pen 2021 – Photo Gallery

As with last year, we weren’t able to have in-person awards this year. Thanks to Best of Books, management and staff, for capturing some of these images as winners came in to collect their prizes and, of course, the winning plaques that will hang in the store. Thanks as well to Frank B. Armstrong for these first two photographs.

The Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque bears the name of every winner since the Wadadli Pen Challenge was first held in 2004. It is sponsored by the Best of Books bookstore, where it hangs year round.

Second placed writer Ashley-Whitney Joshua, author of ‘Hiraeth‘ with prizes that include gifts from Rotary Club of Antigua, books contributed by Sekou Luke, cash contributed by Rilys Adams, and a spot in a future Bocas workshop.

12 and Younger honourable mention (for the story ‘The Blackboard‘) Eunike Caesar collecting her prizes which include books from Harper Collins and Barbara Arrindell, gift certificate from Juneth Webson, and gift certificates and other prizes from Rotary Club of Antigua.

Sheniqua Greaves’ ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve‘ earned honourable mention in both the ‘2020’ subtheme and main categories, and she earned prizes from Bocas (workshop), Peepal Tree Press (Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay), Juneth Webson (gift certificate), Rotary Club of Antigua (various), and Devra Thomas (cash).

Gazelle Goodwin is the first time winner of the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award given to the top 12 and younger writer. Her poem was ‘Beautiful Disaster‘.

Andre Warner – honourable mention for ‘The Brave One‘ collecting his prize.
Gazelle Goodwin holding the Cushion Club Zuri Holder Achievement Award which now bears her name. Gazelle is 12 and younger winner for ‘Beautiful Disaster‘.
Aunjelique Liddie collecting her prizes for placing third with ‘The Beach‘.
Main prize winner Kevin Liddie for ‘Mildred, You No Easy‘ with the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque.
Collecting contribution to the Public Library.
These Collins Big Cat books are at the library. Go get them.
Main prize honourable mention for ‘Vixen‘, Razonique Looby.
Principal of St. Anthony’s Joanne Boulous-Callias collecting her school’s prize.

Click below for:

About Wadadli Pen

Wadadli Pen 2021 press release announcing this year’s winners

Who Won What in 2021

Wadadli Pen 2021 Playlist on YouTube

Wadadli Pen Winners through the Years – Story Links

Thanks to our Patrons

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PRESS RELEASE – WADADLI PEN FIRST: FATHER AND DAUGHTER WIN

A Wadadli Pen first – father and daughter in the top 3.

Kevin Liddie’s name has been added to the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque, sponsored by the Best of Books, as winner of the 2021 Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. The writer of ‘Mildred, You No Easy’, benefiting from the opening up of the usually youth-focused Prize, finds himself in company with his 13-year-old daughter Antigua Girls High School student Aunjelique, third placed with her poem ‘The Beach’. Teen, Ashley-Whitney Joshua, author of ‘Hiraeth’, ranks second. Wadadli Pen congratulates them for emerging victorious from among 72 entries. The announcement of winners was made on May 30th 2021, in the second year of virtual awards.

This virtual shift is not the only way ‘2020’ impacted Wadadli Pen; ‘2020’ was also a subtheme. The subtheme winner is Jason Gilead, whose story ‘The Great Old Woodslave’ is also an honourable mention for the Wadadli Pen 2021 main prize. Sheniqua Greaves, ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve’, is honourable mention for both the ‘2020’ subtheme prize and the main prize.

Other main prize honourable mentions are last year’s winner Andre Warner, ‘The Brave One’, and 15-year-old Christ the King High School student Razonique Looby, ‘Vixen’.

The other special prize in 2021 is the 12 and younger prize. Gazelle Goodwin, a 12-year-old Island Academy student and writer of the poem ‘Beautiful Disaster’, will be the first name on the Zuri Holder Achievement Award – a new plaque memorializing the former Wadadli Pen 12 and younger finalist who died in a road accident earlier this year. The prize is sponsored by his family.  Nine-year-old Baptist Academy student, ‘The Blackboard’ author Eunike Caesar, is honourable mention in the 12 and younger age category.

The school with the most submissions was St. Anthony’s Secondary School and a couple of their students Aria-Rose Browne, also a finalist last year, and Naeem DeSouza are on the Wadadli Pen 2021 long list.

Reportedly, the school has incorporated Wadadli Pen in to its curriculum. “We are going to do so much better next year,” said teacher Margaret Irish during the awards. “I dare any other school in this country to try to beat us.”

All long listed writers – including former finalist Latisha Walker-Jacobs, Linita Simon, Anastatia Mayers, Jai Francis, Annachiara Bazzoni, Kadisha Valerie, Rosemond Dinard-Gordon, and Noleen Azille – will have the opportunity to participate in development workshops sponsored by US based Jamaican Garfield Linton and facilitated by Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator-patron and Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne C. Hillhouse.

Rotary Club of Antigua was a first-time major patron in 2021. RCA member Kevin Silston, who attended the virtual awards, explained, “Rotary usually supports the spelling bee (and reading) competition and this year in particular because of the COVID related challenges, we were unable to do that. More broadly, this year, our theme has been opening opportunities by supporting youth development and healthy lifestyle choices. …Us coming on board to be able to provide some support allows us to execute our mandate while at the same time supporting a worthy cause.”

Other prizes have been contributed by past Wadadli Pen finalists Rilys Adams, Daryl George, and Devra Thomas; new patrons the Trinidad and Tobago’s Bocas Lit Fest, Harper Collins UK, Peepal Tree Press (UK), Jamacia’s Poet Laureate Olive Senior, Ten Pages Book Store, Sekou Luke and new local writer Patricia Tully; and long time patrons Frank B. Armstrong, Juneth Webson, and Barbara Arrindell.

Marcella Andre, owner of another first time patron NIA Comms, which ran its own NIA Mentor Award earlier this year, said, “Wadadli Pen is something that inspires creativity and I think that is something that’s very important…I want to support people who want to get their thoughts out in to the world.”

For Awards clips go to the Wadadli Pen YouTube   and to read the stories visit the Wadadli Pen blog. The team members – Barbara Arrindell, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Margaret Irish, Devra Thomas, and Floree Williams Whyte – thank all patrons, media, partners, past and present for bringing the project from 2004 to the present, nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

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Wadadli Pen Challenge – Who Won What in 2021?

Listed below are the names of the finalists and the prizes they won, thanks to our patrons, in the 2021 edition of the annual Challenge initiative of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, a programme launched in 2004 to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. Here’s our press release announcing the winners. As for this year’s winning entry, you can also read or listen to Why We Chose It.

The awards were held virtually (for a second year in a row in deference to COVID-19 safety protocols) on May 30th 2021, hosted by Barbara Arrindell, Wadadli Pen partner and manager of longtime awards host The Best of Books bookstore. Congratulations to all.

Schools Prize Winner (for most submissions): St. Anthony’s Secondary School

Prizes – 12 Collins Caribbean School Dictionary; 6 copies of Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean; 6 copies of Social Studies Atlas for the Caribbean workbook; 3 copies of You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide 2020 – 2021 (Ten Pages bookstore); EC$250 gift certificate for books (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and two sets of A-level reference guides (from the Best of Books bookstore).

Long Listed Writers:

Linita Simon ‘The Breeze’ (fiction), Rosemond Dinard-Gordon ‘Emerging’ (poetry), Naeem DeSouza ‘The Goat in the Rainforest of Puerto Rico’ (fiction), Anastatia K. Mayers ‘Home’ (poetry), Jai Francis ‘The Legend of the Snowy Egret’ (creative non-fiction), Annachiara Bazzoni ‘Maybe’ (poetry), Noleen Azille ‘Mission: Covered’ (fiction), Latisha Walker-Jacobsalso a finalist in 2011 – ‘Nothing Like Me’ (poetry), Kadisha Valerie ‘The Silence was So Loud’ (fiction), Aria-Rose Brownealso a finalist in 2020 – ‘Spirit of the Flame’ (fiction)

Prizes – All long listed writers will have the opportunity to participate in one (possibly two) workshops sponsored by Garfield Linton, facilitated by Joanne C. Hillhouse as part of her Jhohadli Writing Project. Additionally, Naaem, Anastatia, Jai, Annachiara, Kadisha, and Aria-Rose will receive secondary school reference guides contributed by the Best of Books bookstore, while Linita, Rosemond, Noleen, Latisha will receive copies of Musical Youth (which is the recipient of a Burt award and a starred review from Kirkus which named it one of its top indies) from author and Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and sometime judge Joanne C. Hillhouse. All longlisted and shortlisted writers received (electronically) a certificate from Wadadli Pen as record of their accomplishment.

Short Listed Writers:

12 and Younger – Winner:

Gazelle Zauditu Menen Goodwin , 12, ‘Beautiful Disaster‘ (poetry)

Prizes – Gazelle’s name becomes the first one added to the Zuri Holder Achievement Award plaque and she also receives an EC$75 gift certificate for books (from patron, Cedric Holder, Zuri’s father, in the name of the Cushion Club) – RIP, Zuri; EC$250 (from NIA Comms/Marcella Andre); A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay and Stacey Byer, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Hardy Boys #6: The Shore Road Mystery, Nancy Drew #4: The Mystery at the Lilac Inn, and Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham (contributed by Ten Pages bookstore); kindle and kindle carrier, EC$250 gift certificate, pen set, journal, dictionary, and back pack (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell and Edison Liburd and A Short Guide to Antigua by Brian Dyde (contributed by Barbara Arrindell, who also volunteered to facilitate a number of workshops in the run-up to the Wadadli Pen submission deadline)

12 and Younger – Honourable Mention:

Eunike Caesar , 9, ‘The Blackboard‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay and Stacey Byer, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); EC$108 gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); kindle and kindle carrier, EC$200 gift certificate, pen set, journal, dictionary, and back pack (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell and Edison Liburd and A Short Guide to Antigua by Brian Dyde (contributed by Barbara Arrindell)

Sub-theme ‘2020’ – Winner:

Jason Gilead, ‘The Great Old Woodslave‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); EC$250 ( from NIA Comms/Marcella Andre); a kindle and kindle carrier, EC$150 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); and a copy of Pioneers of the Caribbean written by Ingrid V Lambie and Patricia L Tully (contributed by Patricia Tully)

Sub-theme ‘2020’ – Honourable Mention:

Sheniqua Maria Greaves , 19, ‘The Juxtaposed Reprieve‘ (fiction)

Prizes – A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (contributed by publisher Peepal Tree Press); EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$100 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua)

Main Prize – Winner:

Kevin Liddie , ‘Mildred, You No Easy‘ (fiction)

Prizes – Name added to the Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge Plaque (sponsored by the Best of Books bookstore)

The plaque, which hangs in the Best of Books bookstore, got an upgrade in 2016 and is now known as the Alstyne Allen Memorial Plaque.

EC$500 cheque (contributed by Frank B. Armstrong); US$200/EC$520 gift certificate for books (contributed by Olive Senior); The Friends of the Bocas Lit Fest (FBLF) status allowing access to event archives, Book Bulletin, discounts on Bocas merchandise, books, workshops and paid events offered by the BLF, and be a part of FBLF exclusive events + A spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); Notes on Ernesto Che Guevara´s ideas on pedagogy by Lidia Turner Martí + The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (contributed by Sekou Luke); Four (4) copies each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune to gift to a primary school of his choice (Harper Collins UK)

Main Prize – Second Placed:

Ashley-Whitney Joshua , 19, F, ‘Hiraeth‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$300 cash (contributed by Rilys Adams – an author, who was a Wadadli Pen finalist in 2005 and 2006); a spot in a future Bocas workshop (Bocas Lit Fest sponsored); By Love Possessed: Stories by Lorna Goodison + Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham (contributed by Sekou Luke); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$150 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua)

Main Prize – Third Placed:

Aunjelique Liddie , 13, F, ‘The Beach‘ (poetry)

Prizes – EC$250 cash (contributed by Daryl George – a finalist in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016); A copy of each of the following Big Cat books – Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune + You can write Awesome Stories by Joanne Owen (from Harper Collins UK); Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan + The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (contributed by Sekou Luke); Kindle and kindle carrier, EC$100 gift certificate, pen set, journal, and dictionary (contributed by the Rotary Club of Antigua); Antigua My Antigua (contributed by Barbara Arrindell)

Main Prize – Honourable Mention:

Jason Gilead

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas – also a 2011 Wadadli Pen finalist, subsequent volunteer and partner, and, as of 2021, judge); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Sheniqua Maria Greaves

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Razonique Looby , 15, F, ‘Vixen‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Andre Warner , 23, M, ‘The Brave One‘ (fiction)

Prizes – EC$108 in cash or gift certificate (from Juneth Webson); EC$50 (from Devra Thomas); EC$75 worth of gift certificates (Rotary Club of Antigua)

Additional gifts

Wadadli Pen also gifted:

One (1) copy each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Harper Collins UK) to the Cushion Club of Antigua and Barbuda

Four (4) copies each of Big Cat books: Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell and Zavian Archibald, Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay, and The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse and Danielle Boodoo Fortune (Harper Collins UK) to the Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda

Thanks and congrats all around.

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